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Greetings all!

I am considering a new laptop, but am having a hard time finding any NEW laptops that have XP on them. I am hoping to get some suggestions from my favorite gaming community (okay, honestly, this is the only gaming community in which I participate!).

Important Considerations:
1) I like 'old' games: Diablo II (expansion); Divine Divinity; Sacred Plus; Dungeon Siege 2; Gothic 3 and of course, my all time favorite (until I get to play FoV, which I've already downloaded onto my current laptop), Divinity 2: Ego Draconis [please no comments concerning my game preferences; I list them only to give an idea of graphics and memory usage that I'll need on a computer, as well as what possible operating system (PC) will work if I can't get XP]

2) Laptop will be a replacement for my current 17" Dell Vostro 1720 w/ XP downgrade (from Vista); nVidia graphics card GeForce 9600M GS ; IDT audio; etc. I am not a hard-core gamer-- I don't adjust clock or speed or anything else, and will sometimes use lower graphic settings just to avoid burning out my computer (or my hand, which is more the usual case).

3) I still want the 17" screen size, as I use my laptop for more than just gaming-- I use it for everything computer and internet, including web page designing and watching/listening to media.

4) Though I used to work in the computer field, I am WAY behind the times as technology has advanced so quickly-- I would like suggestions!

5) Budget is a factor (isn't it always?), and I'm in USA.

The reason I post here (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is because I need help. I love playing ED, but have noticed that it makes my current laptop (Vostro 1720) very hot and nearly burns my hand (I have sensitive skin). I ask here also because this community is so involved and provides such encouraging help. . . and lets face it, most of us are here because we love the games from Larian! I have more Larian Studio games than any other studio, I think, and I most certainly play them more often!

Please reply to this thread with suggestions and opinions on laptops that are great for the games I listed, with a primary concentration on ED and FoV in the 17" size. Or, for moderators, please let me know if, how, and where this thread should be moved to if this is not the proper place.

Thanks in advance!

~~CierraShore


"I don't need to get a life. I'm a gamer, I have LOTS of lives!"
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A couple years ago when I was looking to get a laptop the only places that had XP as an option were Eurocom, Alienware, Sager, Falcon Northwest, etc. However, XP is no longer available, so unless you have a retail version of XP that you can install yourself (there may not be XP drivers for all the hardware on current systems), you are pretty much stuck with Windows 7.

Have you tried Windows 7? Vista was certainly worth 'downgrading' to XP, but 7 is suppose to be much better.


Check out NotebookForums.com; there are likely a few topics with similar requests to help you narrow your options down, and someone should be able to answer specific questions (ie about heat) or give more targeted suggestions.

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Thank you, Raze. I'll look into that. The compatibility issue would likely become a problem, which is a concern. I have heard great things about Windows 7, but I'm not sure that the games I mentioned would be playable on that OS.

Thanks again. I'll check into that link.

~~CierraShore


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I agree with Raze that's a good place to start. There's also www.notebookcheck.net its available in multiple languages and has the largest collection of notebook benchmarks on the internet; and Notebook Review Forums for asking questions.

XP is being phased out in favor of Windows 7. There are still some compatibility issues with very old games, however many new and upcoming games take advantage of the newer graphics features in Windows 7 (Direct X) that will never become available to XP users.

If you're looking for a gaming notebook you should prioritize what features are important to you besides the graphics card and screen size, such as is color accuracy or brightness important while gaming or not gaming (such as watching a HD movie), ports such as USB and eSATA if you have external storage connected to your notebook, etc. If the only primary factor is good gaming performance I would find the best graphics adapter with a keyboard layout that works for and the 17" screen.

Personally I've found the ASUS G73Jh and G73Jw (depending on your preference for ATI or nVIDIA) to be a great value. Both of these notebooks are often found demoing Crysis on high in big box stores; this answers the question to greatest running gag in gaming for the past few years. The keyboard layout and fan placement (exhaust in the back) is inline with most high end gaming notebooks, but both of these units sell for a fraction of the cost of an Alienware, Eurocom, or Sager.

Before you make you decision I suggest checking out the links everyone has provided and also consulting Windows 7 Software Compatibility List to ensure the games you want will be playable on Windows 7.

Note: many of the new gaming notebooks can be installed with XP, but you'll need to hunt for the drivers yourself on the internet since the manufacturer does not provide or support them.

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If you get Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate, you will get a free XP licence to run as a 'Virtual Machine' - you need to install it manually though after downloading from Microsoft:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/

It features full integration with Windows 7, e.g. a Windows 7 start menu shortcut can be used to start an XP program running under the Windows 7 desktop. You can also access it directly (like accessing a remote desktop across a network, but without the lag). It does take a little effort to set up, but it then gives you the best of both worlds. XP will run slightly slower than if you installed it directly due to the virtuialisation, but the difference is negligable and should be offset by your new hardware anyway.

You can also convert your current XP laptop's hard disk into a Virtual Hard Disk (.vhd) to use as a virtual machine, so you will be able to access your 'old' laptop from within your new one (note this will require re-activating XP on the new hardware, so you can't keep using your old laptop if you do this). This is more complicated (e.g. you have to manually install the integration features), but is still not too difficult. The following site gives instuctions:

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/wi...ows-7-virtual-machine-with-disk2vhd/3091

I've done both processes many times (and with many operating systems apart from XP), so if you need help, you can PM me for tips.

HOWEVER: I have never needed to use the XP virtual machine for compatability - Windows 7 already has an excellent compatability mode for XP built in (unlike Vista). I had one flight simulator called "Wings Over Israel" that stated it could ONLY be run on XP, but it actually worked fine under Windows 7 using compatability mode. So my recommendation would be to get Pro/Ultimate just in case, but don't worry about using virtual machines unless you actually have issues with the default compatability mode.

Hope this helps!

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Worth mentioning...

Virtual PC, packaged as Windows XP Mode in certain copies of Windows 7 does not support Direct3D. It should only be considered for very old games since any game that requires 3D acceleration will run in software mode. Some older titles may still run well since modern CPUs are considerably faster.

Virtual PC was not designed for gaming, so that's something to keep in mind if you truly need XP to run a game.

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Originally Posted by candlebbq
Worth mentioning...

Virtual PC, packaged as Windows XP Mode in certain copies of Windows 7 does not support Direct3D. It should only be considered for very old games since any game that requires 3D acceleration will run in software mode. Some older titles may still run well since modern CPUs are considerably faster.

Virtual PC was not designed for gaming, so that's something to keep in mind if you truly need XP to run a game.


LoL - OK, forget everything I said (I never tried direct 3D, because every game I owned worked under Win 7 anyway).

I still think most games (including those you mentioned) should work under Win-7 compatability mode. Also, if you really can't find an XP laptop, and you don't need your old one anymore, you can use the product key from your old one on your new one (technically you shouldn't if it's an OEM licence, but I've migrated OEM XP licences before without issue). You'll need access to an XP installer DVD if you do it that way - most laptops come preloaded and don't include the DVD.

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Wow, thanks for all the info!

My current laptop will be passed down to my kids, as they're little gamers as well, and my old desk top (also a Dell) is about dead and barely plays Dungeon Siege II any more (which is my daughter's favorite game). Since my kids are still young-ish, they're still playing older games w/o all the blood and guts of new games. But the other desk top is a Vista, and is slow as all get out for games.

Also trying to reduce clutter. I'm thinking of the best solution to cover all our bases without there being only one comp (the kids have no reason whatsoever to EVER access my computer!)

I do prefer a matte finish on the screen (which my Vostro 1720 has), so I'm glad that it was brought to my attention that screens do vary widely. I'm "monitor shopping" (you know, window shopping online) the various computers (and what is available through NewEgg.com). I really like the specs that were mentioned by candlebbq-- the Asus g73 (I think I prefer the nVidia graphics, which is what I've got now and found it better than my previous graphics card-- which was a replacement for the issued graphics card on the desk top).

There seems to be a lot of commentary about Asus taking forever to run the software updates and there being "bloated software." I do despise bloats, which is why I liked getting a Dell business laptop-- just the basics and I add only what I need. But, given the heat of this Dell laptop (my left wrist and hand sometimes comes up completely red and looking minorly burned after playing ED or Gothic 3... or even now which is just doing internet stuff!

Anyway, I will definitely be checking out the links and continue to do more research. I was pretty bummed about the discontinuation of the Vostro 1720 line, as it's been a great comp (other than that heating issue, which is probably only an issue because of my. . . delicate skin).

So, thanks all for the time. I look forward to future replies and assistance. What a great little virtual community this forum is! smile

All best,
~~CierraShore


"I don't need to get a life. I'm a gamer, I have LOTS of lives!"
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There seems to be a lot of commentary about Asus taking forever to run the software updates and there being "bloated software." I do despise bloats, which is why I liked getting a Dell business laptop-- just the basics and I add only what I need. But, given the heat of this Dell laptop (my left wrist and hand sometimes comes up completely red and looking minorly burned after playing ED or Gothic 3... or even now which is just doing internet stuff!


Asus is actually faster than Dell at releasing updates. But for gamers slow equates to not having drivers the same day a manufacturer like nVIDIA releases their own drivers. However, most gamers are enterprising and will scrounge around the internet for the latest and greatest updates; and they are easy to find.

As for the software bloat... it is a consumer notebook so it is no different than any other manufacturer. You can either spend an extra hour uninstalling the software when you receive the machine or simply install another copy of Windows 7 over it. The good news is Asus software uninstalls easy; there are probably only 5-6 uninstall you can make that do not affect the functionality of the machine. This is in comparison to Sony notebooks in my experience that makes you jump through a couple dozen hurdles to uninstall.

The other good news is that the cooling system is overly engineered in the newer Asus notebooks. There are adventurous modders attempting to throw in even more power graphics cards and even more energy consuming power supplies. The cooling system works so well its virtually quiet while playing games. It will likely become a bit noisier over time due to dust and wear, however I've never found the machine to be hot to the touch; and a quick shot from a canned air duster into the exhaust vents periodically is about all the maintenance you need.

The only big caveat is the warranty. Asus offers a fantastic warranty on paper, but the turn around times on repairs are easily dwarfed by Dell and HP business class machines. If you're used to business machines you should be aware there is a huge discrepancy in service. Business machines are usually repaired and returned within a few days. You can send it in on a Monday and have it back by Wednesday. Consumer lines from these two usually take about a week to a week and a half in my experience. Asus on the other hand takes around 2-3 weeks for a major repair such as graphics card or mainboard replacement. You should keep this in mind.

Other than the service aspect, they are great machines with the same performance you get from top tier manufacturers without the price tag.

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Quick question in regards to "top tier manufacturers"... is that in regards to that "Alienware" computer that costs a ton of money and seems to be for hard core gamers?

I have heard good things from others in the computer field that Asus is pretty decent. Hubby has had a Lenovo that played games fairly decently (but we vary considerably in patience, I having less of it!).

As I'm doing comparisons, I'm seeing that there seem to be 'new' players on the field from when I last shopped for a computer (about 2 years ago, when I got this current laptop as a desktop replacement).

Okay, another quick question (I hope)... has anyone used newegg.com to order a laptop? If so, how on earth does one compare models? How can I tell what a newer model is when they all have letter-number combos which tells me nothing about their primary function use and when manufactured?

Oh, and one more *blush* What is this "Republic of Gamers"?

I'm finding this more frustrating than last time, because this time I've got a whole lot on my plate, so I appreciate those who are taking the time to answer and give input. It is very helpful to me!

~~CierraShore

Last edited by CierraShore; 13/02/11 06:08 AM. Reason: added question

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The following is a bit of read, but I hope this helps you out.

Top tier usually refers to the top sellers in a certain market. Although there's been some shuffling you usually the following manufacturers in the PC market: HP, Dell, Toshiba, Acer, and Apple. Lenovo is occasionally considered since they had a decent share when still owned by IBM; the market for Lenovo is still strong in the business sector. There are also brands under these manufacturers-- for instance Alienware was acquired by Dell in 2006 and represents their entry into high-end gaming PCs. Asus is also among the major manufacturers although their entry is primarily based on their component lines (motherboards, graphics cards, etc.) and netbook sales. When I refer to top I usually mean Dell and HP since they own the lion share in virtually every market category.

Although companies like Eurocom, Sager, and other integrators offer custom notebooks, the parts are usually sourced from an overseas manufacturer like Clevo and simply integrated with components purchased off the shelf. The warranty offered by these brands is usually poor and provided by 3rd party consumer electronic insurance providers. The turn around time to fix a custom part can be an eternity.

The reason I have any experience with this is because of the number of units that come through my work for eval. We have reps and FAEs that come down from each manufacturer to sell us on new server. They also send us notebooks for eval that usual head straight to QC so we can validate our products on each machine. The most common thing I have to say is the shear volume of graphics adapter we get from nVIDIA and ATI-- every time something new comes out we end up testing out a card that you'll probably never see on store shelves. I have a pile of them sitting in a corner in my office :P But I digress...

On newegg.com there is a tab for details where you can view the specifications of the product you are receiving. Unfortunately, newegg isn't a site that will try to sell you on a product through a marketing sheet. Newegg is spartan and geared towards techies that know what they want and simply want to confirm the specs before a purchase. Your best bet is to take a look at the item you are interested in, check the details to make sure it has what you want (for instance a dvd drive or blu-ray), and then read the reviews in the feedback tab. After you a satisfied you can copy-and-paste the exact model number into a search engine and look for a few professional reviews to validate your choice.

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Originally Posted by candlebbq
every time something new comes out we end up testing out a card that you'll probably never see on store shelves. I have a pile of them sitting in a corner in my office :P But I digress...


A geeks paradise... cheer

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Thank you candlebbq! smile

That information was fairly short compared to the volumes I've already been trying to write. Your answer was clear and makes sense!

We've ordered off newegg, but it was for just a 'regular' computer, not one tailored for gaming.

I am leaning towards the Asus G series, as I like the heat 'sources' are towards the back, instead of right under my hands. That's a pretty big deal for me. The only problem I'm seeing right now is they do tend to run pretty high. I think at Amazon the Asus G73 A1 comes w/ a backpack and mouse (bonus!)... but kind of on the pricier range.

Time will tell. I will continue to refer back to this information, as I'm about to 'throw out' the desktops! They take up too much room, but my children are already little gamers and will also need to learn 'information processing' here soon. I don't want their education to be as out-dated as mine.

If this gives you a clue... back when I was into working computers, Unix was the only system that was truly dual/multi-tasking at the same time!

~~CierraShore


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Always a good idea to invest in a laptop cooler, it will improve your laptop's life and well it keeps it cooler.


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Originally Posted by Virc
Always a good idea to invest in a laptop cooler, it will improve your laptop's life and well it keeps it cooler.


Yes, I'm on my second laptop cooler. It helps some, but not enough w/ this laptop. I will always use a laptop cooler to preserve life span and from burning my hand. Thank you, though, because when I first bought a laptop I didn't know that coolers had an actual purpose-- I thought they were just a way for a company to make money. Not so! I probably should have started using one when I first bought the laptop, instead of just a wire "cooling" rack for cookies! *blush*

smile

All best,
~~CierraShore


"I don't need to get a life. I'm a gamer, I have LOTS of lives!"
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Comparing the following:

Model ASUS K72F-A2B ($879)

General
Color
Dark Brown
Operating System
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Downgradable to Windows XP Professional
CPU Type
Intel Core i3-370M (2.40GHz)
Screen
17.3"
Memory Size
3GB DDR3 Hard Disk 320GB
Optical Drive
DVD Super Multi Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics

Video Memory
Shared memory
Communication
Gigabit LAN and WLAN

Dimensions
16.50" x 11.10" x 1.10" Weight 7.30 lbs.

CPU Type
Intel Core i3
CPU Speed
370M(2.40GHz)
CPU Support
3MB L3 Cache
Chipset
Intel HM55

Screen Size
17.3" Wide Screen Support Yes Resolution 1600 x 900
LCD Features
LED backlight
Operating System
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Downgradable to Windows XP Professional
GPU/VPU
Intel HD Graphics
Video Memory
Shared system memory
Graphic Type
Integrated Card
HDD 320GB HDD RPM 5400rpm HDD Interface SATA
Memory
3GB Memory Speed DDR3 1066 Memory Spec 2GB x 1+1GB x 1
Memory Type
204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM
Memory Slot (Total)
2
Memory Slot (Available)
0
Max Memory Supported
8GB
Optical Drive Type
DVD Super Multi
Optical Drive Interface
Integrated
Communications

LAN
10/100/1000Mbps
WLAN
802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN

USB 4

Video Port 1 x VGA

HDMI 1 x HDMI

Audio Ports
1 x Microphone jack; 1 x Headphone jack

Audio

Audio
Integrated Sound card
Speaker
Altec Lansing speakers
Input Device
Touchpad
Yes
Keyboard
Standard
Supplemental Drive
Card Reader
3-in-1 card reader: SD, MMC, MS
Webcam
0.3MP
Power
AC Adapter
65-watt AC adapter
Battery
6-cell (4400 mAh)
Manufacturer Warranty
Accidental Damage Warranty
1 year ASUS Accidental Damage Warranty - Drops, Fire, Spill, Surge
Parts
2 years limited
Labor
2 years limited


OR:


Toshiba L670-EZ1711 Series Satellite Pro ($899=$50 discount from normal price)+ discount if I get laptop cooler (aka combo deal)

General

Color
Black
Operating System
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
CPU Type
Intel Core i3 370M(2.40GHz)
Screen
17.3" Widescreen
Memory Size
4GB DDR3
Hard Disk
500GB (5400 RPM) Serial ATA hard disk drive
Optical Drive
DVD Super Multi
Graphics Card
Intel HD Graphics
Video Memory
Shared memory
Communication
LAN and WLAN
Battery Life
Up to 4 hours, 32 minutes
Dimensions
16.3" x 10.6" x 1.10"-1.49"(W x D x H Front/H Rear)
Weight
Starting at 6.2 lbs. depending upon configuration
CPU Type
Intel Core i3
CPU Speed
370M(2.40GHz)
CPU Support
3MB L3 Cache
Chipset
Intel HM55
Screen Size
17.3" Wide Screen Support Yes Resolution 1600 x 900
LCD Features
LED backlight
Operating System
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
GPU/VPU
Intel HD Graphics
Video Memory
Shared system memory
Graphic Type
Integrated Card
Hard Drive
HDD
500GB HDD RPM 5400rpm HDD Interface SATA
Memory
4GB Memory Speed DDR3 1066 Memory Spec 2GB x 2
Memory Slot (Total)
2
Memory Slot (Available)
0
Max Memory Supported
8GB
Optical Drive Type
DVD Super Multi
Optical Drive Spec
Maximum speed and compatibility: CD-ROM (24x), CD-R (24x), CD-RW (24x), DVD-ROM (8x), DVD-R (8x), DVD-R DL (6x), DVD-RW (6x), DVD+R (8x), DVD+R DL (6x), DVD+RW (8x), DVD-RAM (5x)

Communications
LAN
10/100Mbps
WLAN
802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN
Bluetooth
Bluetooth version 2.1 Enhanced Data Rate (EDR)

Ports

USB
2 x USB v2.0, 1 x eSATA/USB combo port
Video Port 1 x VGA
HDMI 1 x HDMI
Other port
1 x RJ-45 LAN port
Audio Ports
1 x Microphone jack; 1 x Headphone jack

Touchpad
TouchPad pointing device with multi-touch control

Keyboard
Standard US keyboard with 10-key numeric keypad (Black)
Supplemental Drive
Card Reader
Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity, Memory Stick Memory Stick PRO, Multi Media Card (shared slot may require adapter for use)

Webcam
Webcam and microphone integrated
Power
AC Adapter
65W (19V 3.42A) 100-240V/50-60Hz AC Adapter.
Battery
6-cell lithium ion
Battery Life
Up to 4 hours, 32 minutes
Features
Software Included
Toshiba Software and Utilities
- TOSHIBA App PlaceSM
- TOSHIBA Assist
- TOSHIBA BookPlace
- TOSHIBA Bulletin Board
- TOSHIBA Disc Creator
- TOSHIBA ec- Utility
- TOSHIBA Face Recognition
- TOSHIBA HDD/SSD Alert
- TOSHIBA HW Setup Utility
- TOSHIBA Laptop Checkup
- TOSHIBA Media Controller13
- TOSHIBA Password Utility
- TOSHIBA PC Health Monitor
- TOSHIBA Recovery Disc Creator
- TOSHIBA ReelTime
- TOSHIBA Service Station
- TOSHIBA Supervisor Password Utility
- TOSHIBA Value Added Package
- TOSHIBA Web Camera Application

Third-party Software
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Google Toolbar
- Google Chrome
- Internet Explorer 8
- Microsoft Office Starter 201014
- Microsoft Windows Media Player 12
- Microsoft Silverlight
- WildTangent Games Console
- Microsoft Live Essentials
|_ Phot- Gallery
|_ Messenger
|_ Mail
|_ Writer
|_ Movie Maker

Special Offers and Trial Software
- Intuit Quickbooks Financial Center
- KidZui, The Internet for Kids
- NetZero Internet Service
- Norton Internet Security 2011 (30-day trial subscription)
- Skype
- Toshiba Online Backup (30-day trial subscription)

Manufacturer Warranty
Parts
1 year limited
Labor
1 year limited

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ confused confused confused ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sorry they're not side-by-side comparisons. Both these models are listed at newegg, and that is also the price that I put into parentheses. I have used neither Asus nor Toshiba, so I have no experience with either brand. I like the sound of the Asus gaming computer mentioned by candlebbq, but even at newegg that comp is a little out of my budget range (of what I'd ideally like to spend, which is less than US $1,000).

The specs on both seem very similar, and with it being so close in specs and price, I am wondering which brand is the better deal. Does anyone have any experience with either of these manufacturers and/or these particular models? If so, what seems to be the better deal, given they are only about $20 apart? Which company usually produces a higher quality product?

Thanks for the help thus far... the search will continue. I don't want to have to buy another computer for a while, so longevity is also a primary factor.

Thanks again for the input.

All best,
~~CierraShore
p.s.
I'm sort of leaning towards the Toshiba, but I like the brown color of Asus. But, color is no big deal-- I can always get stickers... er, I mean "skin."


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Will this notebook also double as a gaming machine? The neither notebook you provided has a discrete graphics card; both use the Intel HD on-board graphics. It should have great battery life but performance with current games will be poor. You should be able to find premium non-gaming notebook that fits your price range with mid-range nvidia and ati graphics.

I found most gaming notebooks start over $1000; last I checked they were $1200 or more. That said, if you're willing to go second hand or refurbished a quick look on google or ebay may net you a machine closer to your price range.

EDIT: I would have recommended the Studio XPS, but it looks like Dell dropped it in favor of their XPS line. It barely squeaks into your budget at a penny under a grand.

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Okay, so a discrete graphics card is basically like "dedicated" graphics card that is used when doing intense graphic stuff like gaming and HD movies?

Whatever I purchase is for my all-purpose + gaming machine. I don't have the time or space for separate machines. I went to the Toshiba website and found that the price of the machine I listed above starts at $899 through them!

At the Toshiba site, I did a 'custom build' on one of their Satellite models, just to see what it would look like and what the price would be-- the quickie is this (including a discrete graphics card)-- please let me know what you think, because you're far more equipped then I am for um, comparing comps. I guess I'm also wondering if I do have enough info to do a custom build that will give me exactly what I want and need, and have it still be decent for all-purpose and gaming. I've gotta just post the specs quick and get off here because I think I just saw some lightning! Crap, lighting storm w/ very dark overcast skies. Hurray. Feel free to comment on any of the specific choices so I can see where I lack knowledge.

Thanks again. I really appreciate all the replies. Special thanks to candlebbq for taking the time to provide me with information to bring me up to speed a bit. More lightning, gotta go!

Quick Specs on the custom build,
Toshiba Satellite A660-BT2G25 Laptop :
* Intel® Core™ i7-740QM processor (1.73 GHz (2.93 GHz with Turbo Boost Technology), 6MB Cache
* Genuine Windows® 7 Professional 64-bit
* 6GB DDR3 1066MHz SDRAM (4096MB+2048MB)
* 500GB HDD (7200rpm, Serial-ATA)
* NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 330M with 1GB GDDR3 discrete graphics memory
* DVD SuperMulti (+/-R double layer) drive
* Glossy Black LED Backlit Tile keyboard
* Lithium-Ion Battery (6-cell, 48Wh)
* Broadcom Wireless LAN (802.11b/g/n) and Bluetooth® Version 2.1 +EDR
* Microsoft® Office 2010 Starter
* Norton Internet Security Suite (NIS) 2011 (30-day trial)
* 1 Year Standard Limited Warranty

~~CierraShore


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Discrete graphics means it has a separate module that handles the graphics. The term dedicated isn't used anymore before graphics cards do more than just graphics now.

The specs on the unit you put together are actually quite good for the price.

You may also want to look at both HP and Dell. They have performance notebooks in this price range that you might want to check out as well; HP has the dv7 and Dell has their xps series. At this price point much of the decision will likely come down to looks, brand preference, and customer service.

I know... it looks like I'm trying to push you towards different brands. But they all offer similar specs. You mentioned you liked the look of a certain machine so I would look at their units with similar specs and see which unit you find looks better.

EDIT:
I was curious and I did do a little digging myself. The toshiba unit has the best balance of specs. The Dell is a bit more expensive, but has a more capable graphics card. The HP unit at the same price (as Dell) also had less specs on on CPU/memory but ATI graphics of comparable performance with Dell.

Last edited by candlebbq; 16/02/11 02:28 AM.
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Integrated graphics are pretty much crap; ok for general desktop and business use, but not very good for video and poor for gaming. A discrete graphics card is usually a replacement for integrated graphics, though some systems are starting to use both (the integrated graphics chip handling basic chores to keep heat down and conserve battery power, while discrete graphics take over for video and games). Early implementations of this required a switch be manually moved and the system rebooted to change video chips, but I think any system doing this now should be automatic. Generally, people looking at gaming class laptops are not primarily concerned with battery life, though, so I don't know if duel graphics would even be a feature in the laptops you are looking at.

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